Friday, April 6, 2012

Things are moving so rapidly on the book front that the feeling is almost telescopic! For months on end, nothing seemed to move, and now suddenly there's a virtual flood of information and interaction, decisions and action! The formal launch is being planned around June 15, and the idea is to make it as new and different and scintillating as possible, with a minimum of the usual boring stuff that leaves everyone - including the author, I suspect! - yawning by the end of it.

Anyway, more of that later.  Just wanted to share that the book-cover's looking gorgeous - will put it up shortly for all of you to have a sneak-peak before it's seen on the bookshelves in May. Like just about every other practical process connected with Jaal, the cover illustration gave all of us a lot of grief. All the options offered before this one were simply disastrous, and I was literally tearing my hair out, wondering whether the book would finally have to go to press with a blank cover. And then suddenly, there it was - almost as though it had simply been hovering in the wings, waiting to be noticed! We took one look and cast our votes in favour. Hope you will love it, too - that's the closest any artist has come to giving a face to my Arihant, the way I see him. By the time this illustration came along, I had begun to develop a very real sympathy for witnesses required to work with a police artist to recreate on paper a face they can visualise but cannot themselves sketch!

At the end of Jaal, the first book of the trilogy, Arihant is just eighteen - a newly-crafted Divine Weapon whose arrival has been breathlessly awaited for many millennia, and whose body, mind and soul have been honed and stretched to perfection through an incredible process only he could have undergone - and survived. As you go through the book, you'll find yourself swept up into that swirl of freshness, excitement, discovery and wonder, for Arihant is his own definition - someone you have never met before, in life or between the covers of a book, but who resonates to everything you yourself are - and everything you have ever wanted to be. Maybe that's why the people who have travelled the road of Jaal with me and have been involved with its shaping and cementing have inevitably confessed to have fallen helplessly in love with him. Arihant appeals to the invincible spirit in you, for he shares with you his strength and gives you the gift of hope and dignity to face the vicissitudes of life. He makes you identify with him at the deepest level, generating the conviction that you could be like him if you tried hard enough. He has the Universal appeal of the Super Hero who, even as he grows to fit the Prophesy of his incredible Destiny, never outgrows the emotional vulnerability of his humanity, his sense of perspective - or his sense of humour. 

Yeah, yeah, I know - an author would obviously say these things about her/his own creation, right? Wrong. For Arihant is not my 'creation' - he came to me as a gift, just as the book did, from somewhere beyond my ken - an inspiration, if you will. Shades of light that clicked together to make an astonishing pattern - that's how I see Jaal, and hope that you'll catch glimpses of that as you read the book.

If you haven't yet seen the website, please check out The final cover illustration will be going up shortly to replace the interim one we had used earlier, and there will also be some more changes coming along, but in the meanwhile, I'd love to read your comments/questions on the book, the website, Arihant, the world of Kaal - anything you may like to share. If there's something specific you'd like me to post on, do tell me...   

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